In my blog of July 17th, I presented what I thought was a reasoned, factually-supported defence of Donald Trump’s record. Unsurprisingly, I received a great deal of negative feedback, mostly along the lines of ‘if you support Trump, you must be inhumane and ignorant’. One reader accused me of endorsing a man who was practically a Nazi for separating families at the border (guess that person must have missed the numerous reports of the same thing being done under Obama’s watch). Another one of my critics said that Trump was practically destroying the world, so what did that say about me if I took his side? And these were the kindest comments.
People, I was not defending Donald Trump’s personal traits, behaviour, tweets, lack of language skills or any of his other numerous and well-documented personal failings. I was addressing the actual accomplishments of his administration and comparing that record to his predecessor. Not one response to my commentary even attempted to counter my arguments with facts. The truth is that the Trump presidency has produced a prodigious number of successes, a list to which we can now add two more items of more recent vintage, namely addressing the perpetual shirking of military responsibilities by America’s allies and warning the U.S.’s trading partners that he would not abide long-standing trade disadvantages. Again, we may be alarmed by the manner in which he voiced those concerns but that doesn’t change the fact that these are well-founded grievances that his predecessors could not be bothered to address.
As for the haters who cited Mr. Trump’s supposed collusion with the Russians to subvert the presidential election process, allow me to point out that with all the accusations about Russian interference, there has not been a single shred of credible evidence linking anyone of significance in Trump’s camp to the Russian shenanigans nor is there a scintilla of proof that Russian meddling had any meaningful impact on voting results.
I do believe that the Russians made some half-assed attempts at steering the U.S. presidential election in the direction they favoured, but major powers are forever meddling in other countries’ affairs. America was doing that long before Donald Trump came onto the political scene, perhaps most notably in Ted Kennedy’s collusion with the Russians (yes, the Russians and in the midst of the Cold War yet) to unseat Ronald Reagan. As recently as 2015, Barak Obama’s State Department sent a significant amount of money to groups in Israel that were opposed to Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama sent some of his most seasoned campaign operatives to Israel to assist Netanyahu’s opponents. It takes copious amounts of chutzpah to attack the Russians’ feeble (and ultimately, futile) efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election process whilst ignoring or downplaying America’s own frequent attempts to do exactly the same thing domestically and overseas.
And for those of us who believe that history matters, we remember that (1) it wasn’t Donald Trump who whispered to his Russian counterpart that he would have more flexibility after he won the upcoming election; (2) it wasn’t Donald Trump who pressed a symbolic reset button, promising the Russians that they would have a friendlier administration to deal with once Obama would be elected; (3) it wasn’t Donald Trump who approved the Russians’ acquisition of a significant share of America’s uranium supply; (4) it wasn’t Donald Trump who accepted huge gobs of money from Russian oligarchs for his ‘charitable’ foundation; (5) it wasn’t Donald Trump’s spouse who accepted huge fees from the Russians for speeches nobody heard; (6) it sure as heck wasn’t Donald Trump who ridiculed Mitt Romney in their presidential debate when Romney cited the risks posed by a resurgent Russia.
I’ll say it one more time for the cognitively-challenged: Donald Trump may have a plethora of personal and stylistic shortcomings but that is not the measure of a presidency. The responsibility of the U.S. President is to defend and further American interests, not to be the doormat for her allies or an enabler for her enemies. By this standard, Donald Trump can hold his head up high and his supporters need offer no excuses or apologies for defending his record.